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Re: delete-selection-mode as default

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: delete-selection-mode as default
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:16:02 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

Hello, hw.

On Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 00:34:11 +0200, hw wrote:
> Drew Adams <address@hidden> writes:

> Highlighting regions should be separated from whether they are active
> or not, and I don't want hidden regions, either.

I do.  I want point and mark, and the region between them to be regarded
as "the" region.  That's it.  I currently (almost) have that option.

> Currently even when a region is not active (it is a hidden region
> because it is not highlighted), you can do something with it, so users
> always get an "active" region even when they don't want one.  It's only
> a bit less active than it is when it is highlighted.

As I've pointed out several times in the distant past, the terminology
used for things in this part of Emacs is thoroughly suboptimal.  A region
is never "active"; it never does anything, it is never an agent.  For

> > [...]
> > I suspect that things are very different for you, and I
> > suspect it is because of `C-x C-x' activating the region
> > even though you have no intention of acting on it.

> Exchanging point and mark is a purely navigational thing, and somehow
> the activation and deactivation of hidden(!) regions ....

There's exactly one region, except when there's none (before the mark has
been set in a buffer).

> .... which may have been modified because point may have moved since a
> region was selected last time(!) has been mixed into that.  That is ill
> advised.

No, it's central and essential to how Emacs works.  There is ONE region,
the part of the buffer between mark and point.  Let's not muck around
with this.

> > I feel like region activation by `C-x C-x' was maybe foisted
> > on people who never wanted or expected to do anything
> > with an active region.

> Do you mean they would rather do things with hidden regions?  I never
> want to do that.

I do.  I don't want my region highlighted, ever.

> Right, so why not separate navigational functions from highlighting and
> regions?

> Use point and mark purely for navigation, set a selection-start-marker
> with C-spc and a selection-end-marker with another C-spc (or whatever
> key binding is appropriate for it).  The region is between these
> markers, and you can have multiple regions in the same buffer.  Do
> something with a region, and its markers are forgotten unless you use a
> prefix.  Have a key binding to jump around between the regions in a
> buffer, and you can tell Emacs with which of them you want to do
> something by moving point into it.  If you want to do the same thing
> with multiple regions, move point into one after another and make them
> "sticky" for operation, or mark them right after selecting them.

> That might make a lot of things much simpler, and we wouldn't have to
> feel uneasy about the hidden regions all the time.

Simpler?  You've got to be kidding!  Who really wants to have several
regions, and why?  I think the times one would want several regions would
be so rare as to be pure unjustified complexity.

> > [...]
> > There you go. That's probably the right thing to do for
> > someone who doesn't want d-s-m behavior. But then
> > do you have to monkey around with temporary t-m-m,
> > or do you just not bother, ever, with having an active
> > region? I'm guessing the latter.

> It can make it difficult to do things supposed to be limited to a
> region.  I might disable t-m-m if I could see what I have selected with
> it disabled and monkey.


One of the uses of C-x C-x is to check what is currently in the region.
Typically, you'd type it twice, to get back to your starting point.

> I never use C-x C-x, so it doesn't make a difference otherwise, which
> leaves nothing but disadvantages to having t-m-m disabled.

There are many advantages to having transient-mark-mode disabled:
primarily simplicity, and the severe reduction in the modal behaviour (in
the sense of key sequences doing different things in things like vi's
insert mode and command mode).  And I'm not happy having my font-locking
splatted by the region's highlighting.

But everybody's different here, with different preferences, likes, hates.
It's a mistake (which I've made quite a few times) to assume that
"obvious" options in Emacs actually are obvious.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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